Constipation can be caused by many factors:
- Change in routine, or reduced activity (eg travel)
- Diet: Low water or fibre intake
- Medications (eg certain pain meds, anti-depressants, diuretics)
- Medical Conditions (eg IBS, bowel cancers, hypothyroidism, Parkinsons)
It is very common – 1 in 7 Australians report symptoms – especially Women and the Elderly.
Constipation symptoms can include:
– Lumpy or hard stools (poo)
– Feeling bowels not completely emptied
– Straining to pass a bowel motion
– Manipulating your body position to try and pass a bowel motion.
– Having fewer than three bowel motions per week.
- Medication is required at times, especially if medications are causing constipation. Opt for osmotic laxatives (eg Movicol)
- Obey the Urge! When you feel the need to move your bowels – do it, don’t wait, it will harden bowels further.
- Two litres of FLUID daily. (can use tea, coffee, water, juice). Urine should be colour of straw. Drink Throughout the day.
- Include 2-3 x Kiwi Fruit daily
- Include 50-100grams of prunes daily (5-10 prunes)
- Add 1 Tbspn of Psyllium husks in the morning. (or add to yoghurt or juice or stewed fruit)
- Cooked vegetables have more fibre than Salads – utilise slow cookers, roast vegetables, stir fries, curries, soups with plenty of vegetables.
- Weight bearing activity every day, think walking, skipping, jogging, aerobics…
NB. Changes must be gradual and slow.
Up to 75% of people with IBS – C (constipation predominant) or idiopathic constipation will find FODMAPS management beneficial.
- At minimum – avoid legumes, wheat, onions.
If you don’t like kiwi: try artichoke, shallots/leeks/onions, beetroot, brussels sprouts, white peaches, nectarines and melons.
If you don’t like prunes: try apples, pears, cherries, apricots, plums and sugar free chewing gum/lollies.
Peter St Henry